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A Sunflower and Butter from a Tree

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Arnica - All Natural Ingredient in ChopSaver Lip Balm
Arnica Montana

It all started with arnica – the ingredient that first inspired the creation of ChopSaver. Belonging to the sunflower family, Arnica Montana (or just simply arnica) is an herb that has been used by Europeans and Native Americans for centuries for bruising and swelling and is often recommended by medical doctors before and after surgery.It is also used by sports trainers and massage therapists. It contains helenalin, a chemical known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

In May of 2004, a former student and close friend of mine named Wesley Bullock explained to me how he treated a lip injury he incurred in a marching band setting with a topical version of the herb. I had never heard of arnica but the healing he described was so miraculous that my very life turned on that conversation. If there was something as powerful as arnica out there, why wasn’t it being harnessed and used by all musicians to combat the lip swelling that can occur when playing a wind or brass instrument? The idea for a more advanced, super-healing lip care product was born.

Soon after that conversation, I shared my idea with a few musician friends, one of whom suggested I incorporate shea butter into my concoction. Just like arnica, I had never heard the term shea butter. Shea Butter is a natural plant extract with exceptional moisturizing properties which comes from the nut of shea trees (called karité in the local dialect) in West Africa. The tree produces nuts for up to 200 years after reaching maturity. Shea butter is a particularly effective moisturizer due to its high content of fatty acids which are needed to retain skin moisture and elasticity. Shea butter is found in high-end cosmetics and is one of the reasons ChopSaver feels so good when you put it on. With arnica and shea butter, I now had a framework – a benchmark if you will – for the other soothing and healing ingredients I was about to discover.